The anticipation of a big debut for a wrestler can make or break their careers based on how the debut is executed. WWE has created some special moments of highly anticipated debuts with names like Chris Jericho, Kane, Kevin Owens and AJ Styles showing the best examples of starting off right. Other stars have unfortunately had disappointing debuts that failed to live up to the expectations.
We will look back at what went wrong to cause the disappointments from fans waiting quite some time to watch a star debut. The stories range from lackluster matches to poor promos to wrestlers that just didn’t have the chance to succeed. All these performers had the anticipation from fans wanting to see them have a great run. It just didn’t shake out that way as they were doomed from the start. These are ten long-awaited WWE debuts that failed to live up to the hype.
10 Ultimo Dragon
The success of Rey Mysterio in WWE after making the jump shortly after WCW went out of business led to Ultimo Dragon getting a chance. WWE hoped that another masked sensation would get over with the audience in similar fashion to sell lots of merchandise.
Dragon debuted on Smackdown after months of hype videos. The big debut was quite lackluster in a standard match against Shannon Moore. Dragon didn’t stand out or get the chance to showcase his full potential. WWE quickly gave up by moving Dragon primarily to the weekend Velocity show.
9 Scotty Goldman
Colt Cabana signing with WWE gave them a relevant name from the independent circuit. The hope from diehard fans was that Cabana would find success in the same way fellow indie names like CM Punk and Matt Sydal did during their time in WWE to that point.
WWE gave the name of Scotty Goldman to Cabana and debuted him without any fanfare. All the hope from fans that he would do something special would end when Goldman appeared in a random match losing to Brian Kendrick. WWE never even tried pushing him during his short time in the company.
8 Lord Tensai
The prior run of Albert aka A-Train in WWE featured some mild success, but he became a bigger name in Japan as Giant Bernard. WWE scouts were impressed with the stint of Bernard enough to offer him a contract with a planned big push coming back as a new character.
Lord Tensai was the new character to debut attacking face wrestlers with ease. The push was there, but the gimmick itself was confusing and borderline offensive. WWE tried pushing Tensai with a win over John Cena. Nothing worked as the lackluster debut prevented fans from gaining any excitement.
7 Mike and Maria Kanellis
Mike and Maria Kanellis found major success outside of WWE with stints in Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling and New Japan. WWE came calling with rumors of a deal that would allow them to skip the NXT system and debut on the main roster.
Their first appearance came on WWE PPV when the couple arrived on the stage to a unique love song ballad as their entrance theme. Mike and Maria cut a promo claiming they were going to show the power of love to the WWE Universe. The lackluster debut didn’t give them much momentum and WWE booked them poorly to start their careers.
6 Marc Mero
WWE added a world of expectations on Marc Mero when he became the first wrestler to sign with the company on a guaranteed contract. Mero showed potential in WCW as Johnny B. Badd. Vince McMahon was desperate to strike back after WCW signed Hulk Hogan and Savage.
The hope of Mero becoming a young breakout star for WWE was hit with a lackluster debut as the Wildman character. Mero failed to get the crowd support expected of him. The following years would see Sable become his manager and the star of their duo after Mero flopped on his own.
5 Bo Dallas
The track record of NXT Champions getting called up to the main roster has been disappointing as only a few have reached the main event level. Bo Dallas had quite a bit of hype regarding his call-up after losing the NXT Championship to Neville.
The debut came shortly after WrestleMania 30 with the Bolieve gimmick continuing. New viewers had no idea how to respond to Dallas’ gimmick as it came off confusing and mediocre. Bo struggled immensely after the weak first night and never got going as a singles performer on the bigger stage.
4 Brodus Clay
WWE had no idea what to do with Brodus Clay when removing him from television following the stint as Alberto Del Rio’s enforcer. Months of hype videos had fans waiting to see Clay’s new presentation with the vids implying he was going to be a monster heel.
The debut shocked everyone when Brodus came out to a fun theme song and started dancing. Clay referred to himself as the Funkasaurus with Naomi and Cameron as his backup dancers. The comedic angle was just strange and led to fans never buying into Brodus.
Emma struggled on WWE’s main roster with various characters despite always doing well in NXT. The plan of a character change would see months of vignettes hyping up the debut of Emmalina. This changed focused more on her modeling side with stunning pictures showcased in each video.
WWE changed the date of Emmalina’s debut multiple times to add more hype to the start of her new chapter. The debut of Emmalina would come with the reveal that Emmalina was dead and she was going back to Emma. All those months of videos taking place for nothing led to fans never buying into Emma again.
2 Sin Cara
WWE has huge plans for Sin Cara when Triple H signed the legendary Mexican wrestling star Mistico as one of his first moves. Sin Cara had huge hype with a filmed press conference and months of hype videos. WWE waited until the night after WrestleMania 27 to debut the character on an important show.
Sin Cara debuted saving Daniel Bryan from an attack via the heel Sheamus. The presentation of Sin Cara was odd as he jumped on a trampoline to enter the ring and had little backstory. WWE would see him never gain the momentum expected with injuries and failure to adapt to the new style dooming him.
1 Diamond Dallas Page
The big moment of Diamond Dallas Page joining WWE would see fans excited to witness a former WCW legend arrive. Page was among the most beloved wrestlers in WCW that had fans expecting to see him play a face character when arriving to WWE with a big pop.
The fans did cheer DDP in his debut, but the execution was a horrible idea by WWE. Page played a heel getting revealed as the stalker of Undertaker’s wife. This angle removed the appeal that DDP often had in WCW and completely ruined him with one of the worst storylines in WWE history.